The Tough Camera

on January 20, 2016
Sorry about the header photo slipping into the body of the column. Typing this on an iPad, folks, and it doesn't behave like the iMac...

The Olympus people will be happy with me for putting the word 'tough' in the title of this blog post because one of the ranges of camera that they make also bears that name. And as they have just introduced a new model of that range - the TG 870 - they get a double boost for the device.

But remember that 'tough' is also an adjective as well as a nominative and it can be applied to many things. People, cameras, and in the case of some cheap hotels...the steak dinners. Chew on that, but ask for the Diane sauce first...

The Olympus people have armoured their Tough cameras with metal bodies, waterproof seals, and complex locking mechanisms for the various access doors. As they have included a fashionable 180º flipping LCD screen on the camera for the underwater selfie, some of the ruggedness is reduced when the screen is swivelled off the body - but then that same caveat applies to every other maker who has a moving screen. If you is clumsy you can tear off anything, as I can atttest by personal experience.

Olympus have gone several steps further in their armouring - you can add a silicon jacket to the camera to cushion shocks and preserve the swish aesthetics of the stylish body. You can encase it in a further dive housing and go further down in the ocean - down deep enough so that you have to know precisely what you are doing and do it well if you are to hope to come up again...

But here I leave them and dodge off to another brand - the Fujifilm system I use myself. They have underwater cameras too, though I have not used them - I am thinking of land-based shooting. Here I have also seen the need for toughness and have taken the step of encasing my X-Pro1, X-E2, and X-100 in cast aluminium cages.

The cages have an augmented handgrip on the right side, Arca-Swiss sized rails on the bottom and the left hand side, and lots of 1/4" attachment holes on the bottom. They block the camera body from physical harm on 4 of the 6 faces and I reckon a little inspired shop work could extend that to all sides. They are not a regular item in shops - you seek them on eBay but they are cheap for what they do and of very good quality. Of course the toughness is only one aspect of it - the augmented grip and the Arca mounting into a standard tripod is equally as useful.

I can thoroughly recommend the concept for users of other systems and as the Chinese
makers do nearly everything on CAM machines nearly everything fits.

One idea that we saw years ago does not seem to have been as good - the rubber armour for the DSLR. I suspect the propensity of these sort of sheathes to retain dust and moisture spelled more danger to the cameras than they prevented.

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